The head of NASA is concerned that China might claim the moon as its land and prevent the United States from landing there again. They (China) do not reach a place on the moon under the guise of scientific research.
“It’s not outside the realm of possibility that they’re saying, ‘Go away, we’re here, this is our territory,'” Nelson added, according to the Metro newspaper.
Nelson, who was named to the top job at NASA by President Biden in 2021, has claimed that he and others are increasingly concerned about China’s plans for lunar exploration.
The country’s space presence has grown exponentially over the past few years, and in 2019 it became the first country to explore the dark side of the moon using a probe. Chang’e 4.
According to Nelson, the country could plan to place the market in resource-rich locations on the lunar surface, and could then try to prevent the United States and other countries from setting up lunar bases and conducting other activities there.
“If you doubt that, look at what they did to the Spratly Islands,” he said in an interview with Politico.
The Spratly Islands are a disputed piece of land in the South China Sea, and Beijing has claimed ownership of the archipelago and used it as a weapons storage facility, with structures on the islands rumored to be large enough to house ballistic missile launchers.
The moon has become a very attractive target again for both countries, as it is believed that a base on the moon could serve as a staging post for exploration and scientific missions in the solar system.
program aims Artemis NASA aims to return humans to the moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence that would allow astronauts to visit the moon regularly.
Apollo-era lunar missions saw astronauts live on the Moon for only a few days at a time, but the Artemis mission is intended as a stepping stone to long-term lunar bases.
To that end, NASA was recently awarded a £47m contract to build habitats and roads on the Moon, where NASA hopes to establish a lunar base and send astronauts to Mars by the late 2030s or early 40s.
Meanwhile, China’s expansion into space over the past few years has been less than astronomical.
The country has launched orbiters, landers and rovers that have reached both the Moon and Mars, and is also working on its own independent space station, because it has been barred from sharing with the US-led International Space Station.
Nelson said: “China has achieved tremendous successes and progress over the past decade, and it is also true that the date of their landing on the moon is getting closer and closer.”